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tPA deficiency underlies neurovascular coupling dysfunction by amyloid-β.

  • Park, Laibaik1
  • Zhou, Joan2
  • Koizumi, Kenzo2
  • Wang, Gang2
  • Anfray, Antoine2
  • Ahn, Sung Ji2
  • Seo, James2
  • Zhou, Ping2
  • Zhao, Lingzhi2
  • Paul, Steven2
  • Anrather, Josef2
  • Iadecola, Costantino2
  • 1 Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, 10065 [email protected]
  • 2 Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, 10065.
Published Article
Journal of Neuroscience
Society for Neuroscience
Publication Date
Sep 14, 2020
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1140-20.2020
PMID: 32928888


The amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), a key pathogenic factor in Alzheimer's disease, attenuates the increase in cerebral blood flow (CBF) evoked by neural activity (functional hyperemia), a vital homeostatic response in which NMDA receptors (NMDAR) play a role through nitric oxide, and the CBF increase produced by endothelial factors. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which is reduced in Alzheimer's disease and in mouse models of Aβ accumulation, is required for the full expression of the NMDAR-dependent component of functional hyperemia. Therefore, we investigated if tPA is involved in the neurovascular dysfunction of Aβ. tPA activity was reduced and the tPA inhibitor plasminogen inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) was increased in male mice expressing the Swedish mutation of the amyloid precursor protein (tg2576). Counteracting the tPA reduction with exogenous tPA or with pharmacological inhibition or genetic deletion of PAI-1 completely reversed the attenuation of the CBF increase evoked by whisker stimulation, but did not ameliorate the response to the endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine. The tPA deficit attenuated functional hyperemia by suppressing NMDAR-dependent nitric oxide production during neural activity. Pharmacological inhibition of PAI-1 increased tPA activity, prevented neurovascular uncoupling and ameliorated cognition in 11-12 month old tg2576 mice, effects associated with a reduction of cerebral amyloid angiopathy but not amyloid plaques. The data unveil a selective role of the tPA in the suppression of functional hyperemia induced by Aβ and in the mechanisms of cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and support the possibility that modulation of the PAI-1-tPA pathway may be beneficial in diseases associated with amyloid accumulation.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTAβ peptides have profound neurovascular effects that may contribute to cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease. We found that Aβ attenuates the increases in blood flow evoked by neural activation through a reduction in tPA caused by upregulation of its endogenous inhibitor PAI-1. tPA deficiency prevents NMDA receptors from triggering nitric oxide production, thereby attenuating the flow increase evoked by neural activity. PAI-1 inhibition restores tPA activity, rescues neurovascular coupling, reduces amyloid deposition around blood vessels and improves cognition in a mouse model of Aβ accumulation. The findings demonstrate a previously unappreciated role of tPA in Aβ-related neurovascular dysfunction and in vascular amyloid deposition. Restoration of tPA activity could be of therapeutic value in diseases associated with amyloid accumulation. Copyright © 2020 the authors.

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